Auditor: Joshua Powell Illegally Hired His Wife

The State Auditor of Public Accounts just released its report, in the form of a nine-page letter, reviewing the case of nepotism in Montgomery County Schools. The letter, which you’ll see below, proves that superintendent Joshua Powell and his cohorts changed job descriptions, bumped salaries, ignored other applicants and went out of their way to illegally hire Powell’s wife, Anna.

The TL;DR: the district’s hiring of Powell’s wife didn’t comply with the requirements of state statute. That’s what we call NEPOTISM.

Let’s jump right in to the findings and some excerpts:

In conducting the examination, we attempted to gain a thorough understanding of the position and its performance responsibilities, both past and present.

-SNIP-

After reviewing information submitted by 26 candidates, the former Director of School Improvement initially selected four candidates for further consideration. Three of the four candidates initially vetted by the Director of School Improvement were ultimately interviewed by a selection committee comprised of five District personnel, including the Assistant Superintendent who served as the committee chair. The fourth candidate initially selected was not interviewed.

-SNIP-

In October 2013, the Director of Special Projects’ position description was again changed, adding five performance responsibilities to the position, eliminating two job responsibilities, and officially reassigned the position to report to the Assistant Superintendent and stated that the position did not supervise staff.

The findings:

Finding 1: Unreasonable modifications were made to the Director of Special Projects position description to accommodate the recommendation of the Superintendent’s spouse for this position.

Per the District CAO, the Superintendent and CAO revised the position description for the Director of Special Projects in October 2013 after a selection committee identified the Superintendent’s spouse as the recommended candidate to appoint to the position.

According to one District Board Attorney, the CAO contacted him and indicated that the selection committee was in the process of filling the Director of Special Projects position and it appeared that the Superintendent’s spouse was the leading candidate.

-SNIP-

Based on the position description in effect and used at the time of the job posting and interview process, the Superintendent’s wife would not have qualified for the position as the last revised position description clearly indicated that the employee in that position would report to the Superintendent or designee and would supervise and evaluate staff assigned to the position.

-SNIP-

Based on statements made by District personnel and a Board Attorney, we question the reasonableness of the accommodations made by the District to allow for the hiring of the Superintendent’s spouse into this position. Furthermore, based on the description posted by the District for the position and the criteria for employment under KRS 160.380(2)(e), it appears the Superintendent’s spouse should not have been considered eligible for consideration.

See that? Nepotism. She shouldn’t have been hired. It was illegal. Against Kentucky Revised Statutes.

Finding 2: District characterization of the position for which the Superintendent’s spouse was hired is not consistent with the job title and district documentation.

According to the District, the Director of Special Projects’ position is not a supervisory position, but rather is a compliance position. While the District eliminated specific language from the position description in an attempt to comply with state statutes after the selection committee recommended hiring the Superintendent’s spouse, as noted in Finding 1, the position posted by the District to be filled was a supervisory position as evidenced by the job posting.

-SNIP-

Based on the District’s records, it appears that the position for which the Superintendent’s spouse was hired is effectively a different position from that posted by the District.

Despite the recent revisions made by the District to the Director of Special Projects’ position description to accommodate the hiring of the Superintendent’s spouse, the position description for this position includes specific performance responsibilities which appear unreasonable to perform if the position, at some level, does not involve supervision.

-SNIP-

For an individual to assume responsibility for a program, to ensure management of operations, and enforce district policy, this individual would have to have authority over other staff to see that these performance responsibilities are met and supervise their activity regardless of whether they are required to perform the evaluations of those employees.

-SNIP-

In light of the requirements under KRS 160.380 and the information provided to this office by the District, auditors question the District’s ability to consider and employee the Superintendent’s spouse in this director position.

-SNIP-

We further recommend the Board review the actions taken by District personnel and discuss the matter to determine the appropriate actions necessary to ensure this issue is appropriately resolved.

After essentially telling the board to fire Anna Powell, here’s the big bit:

Given the results of this examination, and the nature of the findings, this office is referring both findings to OEA and EPSB for further consideration.

Want to read the entire report for yourself? Here you go:


CLICK FOR PDF

There you have it. Despite Powell’s attempt to prevent a thorough investigation, the facts we originally reported have been confirmed by the Auditor.

Joshua Powell, superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, along with with his friends, did exactly what we said they did.

For a refresher:

  • New Rumors Of Nepotism Plaguing Montgomery Co. [October 21]
  • Montgomery Co. Schools Nepotism Mess Continues [October 22]
  • Edelen Ignoring Messes In Montgomery Co., Too? [October 23]
  • Someone In The State Auditor’s Office Said… [October 24]
  • Update On Montgomery County Schools Messes [October 24]
  • More Montgomery County Teasers For Edelen [October 25]
  • Lingering Nepotism Issue For Montgomery County [October 25]
  • Montgomery Co. Supe Is Reality-Challenged [October 28]
  • Hopefully Montgomery Co. Schools Drama Ends Soon [October 31]
  • Joshua Powell Finally Signed An Agreed Order [November 12]
  • Auditor Investigating That Possible Nepotism Mess [November 29]
  • Montgomery County Actors Muddying The Water [December 3]
  • Potential Nasty Lawsuit in Montgomery County [December 4]
  • Montgomery Co. Schools Supe Meltdown Update [December 5]
  • Powell Corruption Cost You More Than $500,000 [December 6]
  • Yes, Powell & Officials Are Involved On Topix [December 9]
  • Montgomery Co. Folks Nervous Re: Missing iPad [December 10]
  • Job Descriptions Changed To Support Hiring Wife [December 11]
  • Montgomery Co. Overpaid For Furniture Contracts [December 12]
  • Why Is It Taking So Long To Examine Powell? [December 16]

Now it’s time to talk about the district giving pay raises to staffers to compensate them for being interviewed by audit staff…

This is why Montgomery County can’t have nice things.